Having finished speaking with a long-time friend, his parting words were, “Keep the faith. And take nothing for the journey, as Jesus would say.” And Jesus said it, too, right in these verses:
“And He (Jesus) called unto Him the Twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.” Mark 6:7-9 (KJV)
I wondered the purpose of the “staff” and looking it up this is what I found: “The staff is symbolic of God’s authority as His leaders were identified”, and “The staff in Moses’ hand was involved with the plagues given out to Egypt that indicated God’s sovereignty over Egypt”, and “The staff was also a referred to as a sign of a ruler like a king’s scepter.” So, in other words, when God sent His Disciples out, they would be appear to be poor in outwardly material things, but they are going with: (1) Authority, (2) Power, and (3) Recognition.
We are on a journey through this life and for the past several weeks my journey has been difficult. Often times I feel like giving up, but something continues to drive me regardless of my feelings, attitude or character. For example, when I tell myself I won’t write anymore, the Holy Spirit disregards what I want, places the inspiration within and I find myself sitting in front of this keyboard, just as I am doing now. We often bring a whole lot of baggage on our journey and God is letting us know we don’t need to carry anything other than His “authority”, His “power” and His “recognition” of who we are. We should identify with Him, being from Him, and Him taking over our lives. We do not need to bring along, attitudes, feelings or characters which will only get in the way. I imagine this is what “surrendering” is all about, huh?
When I was young I remember hearing a preacher say we have to bring everything to the cross. We will pack a suitcase, filling it to where we need to sit on it to close it. It is full of our “junk” and “mess” of life. We will struggle to carry it to the cross and once we put it at the feet of Christ, we have this tendency to open it, take out a small package, and walk away. In the small package are those things we cherish. Things like: anger, frustration, envy, backbiting, a whole assortment of goodies which given time will need suitcases to carry them because they have a tendency to stack up and become more than what we bargained for.
So, while this lesson is being written to share with you, I’m taking this one for myself. I think we all have some cleaning to do and we have to learn not to be pack-rats in our lives so we’re able to get along on this journey with a whole lot less baggage then what we’re carrying now.
April 15, 2016